Before I begin, I’m guest-hosting over at GoingFiveHole today. Drop by and show them some MYFO-style attention. Except for that Fanhouse guy that bumped me from the morning to the afternoon. Fuck that dude, even if he does like Barry Melrose..
I try not to let my blatant homerism shine through on here. I rarely post about the Lightning, except to make Saw jokes about the owners and bust out some Clerks references, mostly because I never want to be one of “those” guys. You know the type, the bloggers who obsess about their own team to the point where any minor criticism causes a sea of rage. (Yes, I’m well aware that link goes to the wrong spot. But I think it’s funnier this way.)
That said, the Lightning are going to be pretty fucking good this year.
The main problems behind last year’s team was the lack of defense supporting the goalie. It didn’t help that prior to the trade deadline, we had a tackling dummy in the net. But now, Mike Smith can stand on his head when he has to, and The Berzerker is there to give him a rest every now and again. And with the revamped defense of Carle, Kuba, O’Brien, Picard, and Ranger, there’s enough talent there to keep them both out of a shooting gallery every night.
The front-liner core duo remains the same, and even without Brad Richards to complete the Three Amigos, they’ll be a hell of a line. Add to that Stamkos (should he not turn into the hockey version of Ryan Leaf or Ki-Jana Carter), Malone, the return of Vinny Prospal, and the adding of Methuselah Roberts, and anyone who thinks this team can’t win the Southeast is fooling themselves.
In a time when the Bucs are first on everyone’s mind, and the Rays are working their way to the playoffs, we may have to stake that claim to Titletown. Fuck you Green Bay.